Turning the Tables
Early in her sophomore year of high school, my daughter had a midday medical appointment and I had to go over to school to pick her up. She was in
school – close to 2000 kids.
When I arrived, I had to wait in a little room with a glass door looking out on the hallway. When the bell rang, the kids poured out into the hallway. The girls laughing and talking with their friends. The boys hip-checking each other into the walls.
After a few minutes, my daughter came into view. She was solo, looking down at the floor, hugging the lockers – trying to be invisible. In that instant, I realized my fun-loving kinda-shy middle schooler had morphed into a teen who was hugely uncomfortable among her peers. It was an utterly eye-opening punch in the gut moment.
Fast forward a ½ dozen years or so. My daughter has just finished college. She’s living with us, working at a new job. She walks into the kitchen one day and starts talking about the adult class she just signed up for. She’s decided that the best way to overcome her fear of speaking in public is to take a comedy class. What!?!
The final session of the class was held at an open-mic in a local bar, each student performing the set they had been working on. Things went so well that she and her classmates went to an open-mic at another bar a week later, and again hit it out of the park. What!?!
My kids have taught me as much about life as I’ve taught them. No, they've taught me far more. As they struggle to find themselves, they take risks that inspire and amaze me.
Of course, now a nagging echo of my own parenting voice says there’s clearly only one way to respond. I need to sign up for the same class. My daughter quietly and decisively boomeranged my own advice. The tables have been turned. I’m already sweating.